For me, an intimidating element about the wine world is trying to match wines and food. Fortunately there are some basic guidelines that I find helpful to follow.
My favorite guideline is to match the wine to food that is grown or produced in the same area. The Graciano from Rioja, Spain goes great with Manchego cheese also produced in Spain.
Match acid with acid:
A dish with lemon will do well with a crisp, acidic wine. The Picpoul (which means “lip stinger” in French) with it’s bright finish goes great with a recipe for chicken and lemon.
Match creamy with creamy:
Going for complementary flavors is an easy way to pair wine with your food. With this pairing, you’re matching the structure of the wine with the structure of the food. The La Tierra Chardonnay with aromas of apples and brioche pairs well with lobster or Brie.
Match spicy with sweet:
Pairing your food and wine with contrasting flavors means you’re trying to counterbalance a taste in either the dish or the wine. The Punkt Sparkling Rose from Austria ends with a juicy, creamy finish that will counter your spicy Thai takeout.
Red wines pair best with bold flavored meats:
The 2012 Qupé Granache from the Edna Valley in California matches well with and cassoulet or chili – the bitterness of the wine balances the fat of the meal.
Some wines are super versatile, like the Girasole Hybrid Red featured above. Suggested to pair with pork and hard cheese, I found it went great with both the pepperoni pizza as well as the ricotta one.
Choose a wine you’d want to drink by itself. That way, even if the pairing isn’t perfect, you’ll still enjoy what you’re drinking.